Senior Voices: Honoring the Stories of Dayton’s Elders

WYSO, the Dayton Metro Library and local social service agency, Rebuilding Together Dayton, have come together for a very special project. We’ve gathered the memories and wise words of Dayton’s elders for Senior Voices, a new series that is airing throughout 2018.

Along with Dayton Metro Library staff, we trained nearly three dozen area residents to use digital recording equipment to interview local elders. Interviews took place at branch libraries, at selected Lobby Stop locations (Lobby Stop is a sort of book mobile for seniors), community centers, and in the homes of seniors who participated in the Rebuilding Together Dayton Fixit Kit program.

We held three trainings at the DML Northwest branch this summer, and shortly after the new main branch opened in August, the volunteers began gathering stories. The full interviews will be accessible for generations to come at the Dayton Metro Library. At WYSO, Community Voices producers have been editing the interviews for broadcast. We present them to you in honor of the life experiences and wisdom of Dayton elders.

This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.

Jocelyn Robinson coordinated this series for WYSO. Janine Kinnison is the Project Liaison for Dayton Metro Library.

Editors include: Dave Barber, William Brown, Tess Cortes, Patti Gehred, Javis Heberling, Kateri Kosta, Zebedee Reichert, Jason Reynolds, David Seitz, Alan Staiger, Chris Welter. 

Interviewers include: Dana Kragick, Tess Cortes, Anna Omulo, Doug Bowers, Hadley Drodge, M. Alice Callier, Barbra Gerla, Jason Coatney Schuler, Linda Pitzer, Carol Jackson, Audrey Ingram, Susan Brenner, Nancy Messer, Christian Davell, Ken Standifer, Liz Anderson, Cynthia Wallace-King, Karen Maner, David Murphy Sr., Cynthia Rush, Alan Stagier, Debra Root, Pamela Waltrip, Jennifer Hicks, Brandon Ulman, Karah Power  


Toula Stamm
Senior Voices

In this Senior Voices web extra, we hear from Toula Stamm, born in 1932 and raised in Dayton’s close-knit Greek immigrant community. She remembers growing up on Proctor Street, where Sinclair Community College now stands, and hearing a radio broadcast that she will never forget. Toula shared her story with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Cynthia Wallace-King.


Senior Voices: Andy Heins (Part 2)

Sep 12, 2018
Andy Heins
Senior Voices

In a previous Senior Voices segment, Andy Heins described his experience being among the first students involved in the desegregation of Dayton City Schools. His interview with Dayton Metro Library volunteer Nancy Messer also captured his memories of the famous small airplanes that were built in Troy, Ohio.


Senior Voices: Carrie Ellis

Sep 8, 2018
Carrie Ellis
Senior Voices

In this Senior Voices web extra, Carrie Ellis, who grew up in Mississippi and moved to Dayton in 1965, talks about her stint in broadcasting and serving others in her community. Ellis was interviewed in her home by Carol Jackson, where one wall is filled with plaques and awards she’s won over the years.


Margaret Frey
Senior Voices

Today on Senior Voices, we meet Belmont resident Margaret Frey. Now 71 years old, Margaret is long-time advocate for Dayton youth, working at Children’s Service Board or CSB, earning her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Dayton, and serving as a school psychologist for the Dayton Public Schools for many years. She shared her story with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Anna Omulo.


Father Tim Connair
Senior Voices

In this Senior Voices web extra, 85 year-old Timothy Connair remembers his journey from choir boy to the priesthood. He shared his story with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Linda Pitzer.


Timothy Connair: My name is Tim Connair, a native Daytonian, born in 1931. I attended Holy Trinity Grade School, and then I took a competitive exam to be entered at Sacred Heart Latin School, where we took three years’ work in two years, and started studying Latin in what would be junior high.

Reverend Daria Dillard Stone
Senior Voices

Today on Senior Voices, we meet Reverend Daria Dillard Stone, who was raised on Broadway in West Dayton. She shared her early memories  with Dayton Metro Library interviewer, Jennifer Hicks.


Senior Voices: Delores (Dee) Wilson

Aug 25, 2018
Dee Wilson
Senior Voices

In this Senior Voices web extra, we meet 92-year old Delores Wilson. Better known as Dee, she tells us about her first job during World War Two. Dee worked for William Preston Mayfield, renowned Dayton photographer, and she describes her brief brush with fame. She shared her story with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Dana Kragick.


Dana Kragik (DK): And where did you go to high school?

Senior Voices: Bessie Simien

Aug 22, 2018
Bessie Simien
Senior Voices

When Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast in 2005, over 800,000 people evacuated from the city, and Bessie Simien was one of them. This week on Senior Voices, we hear about Bessie’s journey from New Orleans to Dayton. She shared her story last fall with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Cynthia Wallace-King.


Senior Voices: Norma Adams

Aug 18, 2018

In this Senior Voices web extra, Norma Adams shares memories of Roosevelt High School, and NCR’s Old River Park. She spoke with Dayton Metro Library interviewer, Kara Power.


Kara Power (KP): So, do you remember where you went to elementary school and high school?

Norma Adams (NA): Edison in Dayton, and high school was Roosevelt. And they’ve torn the whole building down now, it’s gone. Yeah, and it was a fabulous building, it had two huge pools.

Senior Voices: Louis Eckert

Aug 15, 2018
Louis Eckert
Senior Voices

For Daytonians of a certain age, the memories of the city’s glory days as a post-World War II manufacturing center are vivid. Louis Eckert started working at Delco Products in the 1970s, while still a student at Patterson Co-Op High School in Dayton, and he attended the General Motors Institute of Technology in Flint, Michigan. He recalled his GM career in this Senior Voices interview with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Carol Jackson.